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Consumer perceptions and attitudes of organic food products in Eastern China

Biao Xie (School of Geography Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China)
Liyuan Wang (School of Journalism and Communication, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China)
Hao Yang (School of Geography Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China)
Yanhua Wang (School of Geography Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China)
Mingli Zhang (School of Geography Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

In response to food scares related to high levels of agro-chemical residues sometimes found on foods, consumers in China increasingly demand for organic foods. As little is known on consumer perceptions and attitudes toward organic food products, the purpose of this paper is to gain insight into the purchase of organic food products by consumers and to explore the main factors driving this process.

Design/methodology/approach

Mixed (quantitative and qualitative) market survey approaches were used to provide a potentially deeper insight into consumer’s perspective and could help get a better picture of the complex factors involved.

Findings

The main trigger for purchasing organic food products is that consumers expect them to be healthier and safer. The respondents who have bought organic food products tend to have a higher education level and disposable incomes, be families with children and be older than those who have not bought them. The main barriers to increasing the market share of organic food products are the consumers’ lack of knowledge, the relatively high price premium and the lack of availability of organic food products. Informing consumers about unique characteristics of organic production methods, the decline in the prices of and increasing the availability of organic food products to its customers might be a promising strategy to develop the market for organic food products.

Originality/value

This paper provides a unique insight into buying behavior and attitudes of organic consumers in China. The results of the research could provide information for the organic food industry to expand its market and improve its profitability and reliability.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41273103, 41030751 and 41273102). The authors are grateful to the managers of the supermarkets and organic specialty stores for allowing to survey their customers.

Citation

Xie, B., Wang, L., Yang, H., Wang, Y. and Zhang, M. (2015), "Consumer perceptions and attitudes of organic food products in Eastern China", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 3, pp. 1105-1121. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-09-2013-0255

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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